Thu, 27 May 2010

From: Reuters

JAKARTA, May 26 (Reuters) - Indonesia's largest automotive
distributor, PT Astra International Tbk (ASII.JK), said on
Wednesday it expects record high 2010 car and motorcycle sales
as consumer demand increases, driving its shares up 10 percent.

Consumer demand for cars and motorbikes picked up in the
first quarter of 2010, industry data showed, as Indonesia's
central bank held interest rates at a record low and economic
growth picked up.

Astra now expects domestic vehicle sales to be above
600,000 units this year, an increase from a previous forecast
of 520,000 to 530,000 units, and 23 percent higher than 2009

"We're optimistic to break a record of 609,000 car sales in
2008," said Johnny Darmawan Danusasmita, president director of
Astra's biggest automotive unit PT Toyota Astra Motor.

Astra's president director, Prijono Sugiarto, told
reporters the firm will achieve the target if Indonesia's
market is not affected by the eurozone debt crisis.

"It (car sales) will also depend on the new vehicle
ownership and registration tax policies," he said.

Danusasmita added that if taxes increase, vehicle sales
could still plunge by up to 20 or 30 percent.

Astra also increased its forecast for motorcycle sales to
6.5 million units, from a previous forecast of 6.2 million
units. This would be up 12 percent from sales in 2009 of 5.8

Vehicle and motorcyle sales are seen as an indicator for
Indonesia's economy, the largest in Southeast Asia, which
proved resilient to the financial crisis and attracted strong
investment flows into its bonds, currency and stock market in
the past year.

Shares of Astra jumped 10 percent to close at 40,050
rupiah, outperforming the 7.3 percent jump in the broader
Indonesia stock market .JKSE.

Astra, which has a market capitalisation of $15.9 billion,
is controlled by Singapore's Jardine Cycle & Carriage Ltd
(JCYC.SI), which also rose 9.2 percent.